Vuelta (st. 5) / Poitou-Charentes (st. 2)
Small splits at Alcalá de Guadaíra's uphill finish -with Rojas in 5th spot- take Dumoulin (TGA) into Vuelta lead. Valverde remains 5th overall; Quintana 9th
Australian youngster Caleb Ewan (OGE) claimed his maiden Grand Tour stage win with a dominant sprint in Alcalá de Guadaíra, uphill finish of a 5th stage in the Vuelta a España -167km starting at Rota- which responded to perfection to a classic breakaway-chase-sprint narrative. Iljo Keisse (EQS), survivor of a three-man move, was caught with 8km remaining.
José Joaquín Rojas could eventually give a shot to mass finishes in the Vuelta after completing his job and led the Blues' performance in 5th place, first of a split behind the winner including Froome (SKY) or Moreno (KAT) which put six seconds on a second group including Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde. The Spanish road race champion remains in 5th overall, 29" behind new GC leader Tom Dumoulin (TGA), with the Colombian in ninth spot, 37" down.
Thursday will bring the hills back with the finish in Cazorla (Cat-3, 2.9km at 6.8%) after another long, 200km trek from Córdoba, prelude of the real mountains starting on Friday atop the Alto de Capileira.
Poitou-Charentes: Crosswinds hit the Movistar Team
Quite a less calm day was the one lived by José Luis Jaimerena's roster on stage two of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, with a final 50km stroke by huge winds that broke the bunch into four different pelotons, which the Blue squad tried to bring back without success.
A 23-man lead group, with Trentin (OPQ) victorious over the line, anticipated a first peloton 27" back, including Sütterlin, Malori, Castroviejo, Dowsett and José Herrada, after furious attempts by Intxausti and Sanz to complete the chase and take the race back into calmness.
With Thursday's morning sector still to be covered, the Blues will start the evening's decisive ITT in Loudun with a 48" gap for Malori, Castroviejo and Dowsett -Herrada remains at 40", with Sutterlin 42” down- behind still-race-leader Arnaud Gérard (BSE).